Give your child what they want means spoiling them, right? They need to always do what you say and nothing else. And exceptional kids need even more tough love or they will totally milk the sympathy card. We’ve all heard this, right Exceptional Parents? To some extent it is true. Kids need firm boundaries, structure and parents and other caregivers who are not afraid to say no. This needs to happen, but there is not only nothing wrong with giving Exceptional Kids what they want, it is sometimes even necessary to show them they matter and that you get things that they feel. I have been noticing this lately with Michael. When he sees I will give in to certain activities and things, he is more apt to listen and open up to me. Some people in the past have said I am spoiling him. I do not see it as that. I see it as showing him his feelings matter as much as mine.
There is a fine balance, of course. A parent can see where their child is truly struggling and when they need a breather. This is when it is ok to give in and let them do something fun. The work can wait. Other times, and it will happen, your Exceptional Child will try and use the “I want to dothings my way” card to get out of doing work, challenging stuff, or other activities that they do not want to do. As I’ve mentioned before, parents need to be good detectives and pay attention to little clues. This will help them see if the request is legit or not.
I had a really challenging day with Michael a few days ago. After our argument when he was talking to me it broke my heart when he told me, “Mommy, you don’t listen to me. You don’t understand me.” I pride myself on usually being very open to his thoughts and feelings. When I went over the conversation, I realized he was right, I was not really listening. It contributed to escalating our fight. That day I learned to take a breath, calm down and center myself, before seeing how best I could help Michael express himself without anger and further blowups. It works, and now we rarely have this problem.
Exceptional Parents, do you always take the time to listen to your child like you want them to do to you? It’s extremely challenging, especially when we’re all busy and tired and overwhelmed. It is mandatory though, if we want our children to learn empathy that we practice it with them by showing them that we care about what they want to do even if it’s not in the game plan that day. Until next time.
I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism is opening my eyes up to living life in a whole and balanced way. I am passionate about helping other parents of exceptional children thrive as individuals and in their relationships with their children. For more information on my coaching packages, or for a free 30 min consultation session, contact me at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.